Going to a paid tax preparer?

Here's what you need to know:

If you are unable to access one of the many free tax sites across Colorado or file online for free, visiting a paid preparer may be the only option. Here are some things to consider to ensure you are getting the best service:

  1. Check the person’s qualification or credentials. Ask if they’ve participated in any type of training for the current tax year. Visit the IRS website to search a directory of preparers with credentials and qualifications.
  2. Ask about their fees for preparing an average tax return upfront. The average tax preparation fee in Colorado is around $200.
  3. BEWARE – Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund or claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers. Always make sure any refund is sent to your address or deposited into an account in your name.
  4. Ask what they are doing to keep your personal information safe.
  5. Make sure to ask how you can contact them outside of tax season if a question or problem arises.
  6. Some preparers use fraudulent practices. There are currently no state laws regulating tax preparers. If you do experience an abusive tax preparer, file a complaint here.
  7. Review the completed return with your preparer. If something doesn’t sound right, ask questions. By signing the return, YOU are ultimately responsible for the information included.
  8. Never sign a blank return. Read the entire return before signing it.
  9. Make sure the paid preparer signs your tax forms and includes his or her preparer tax identification number (PTIN).